I just finished reading Joel F. Harrington's book, Dangerous Mystic: Meister Eckhart's Path to the God Within. What a terrific read. It was also a slightly more taxing read than I am used to, but perhaps I grew a few more brain cells in the process. I was glad I made the effort.
The author is a professor of history at Vanderbilt University and an expert on social and religious history in premodern Germany. He provides the reader with a thorough sense of German life in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, the Catholic viewpoint and the political struggles of that time. Within this framework, he zeroes in on the life of a Dominican monk from a small town who had both keen intellectual gifts as well as unique spiritual insights.
Meister Eckhart was clearly a man of enormous potential, as his superiors supported his intellectual pursuits at the Univeristy of Paris, where he eventually earned a Master of religious studies and also taught there. He was also a gifted administrator and his superiors also relied on him to lead at various monasteries where the political winds were particularly treacherous.
However, it is Meister Eckhart's spiritual insights which have made him known, in a negative way toward the end of the life, and somewhat more positively in recent years. A highly recommended book.
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